Coyote and Fox Seasons 2023–24: Hunting Regulations

Sunday Hunting Prohibited

Please note that Sunday hunting is prohibited, and you should refer to the General Hunting Regulations for further details.

Regular Season (Hunting License Required; No Permit Needed)

Season

  • September 30–November 10, 2023
  • Half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset

Weapon

  • Bow Only
    • 35 lbs. pull/peak weight
    • Crossbow (75 lbs. pull weight) using well-sharpened broadheads (minimum 3/4" width)

Bag Limit/Reporting

  • No daily or seasonal bag limit

Harvest Reporting: It is REQUIRED to report the harvest of a Coyote by 8 p.m. on the day of the harvest. Reporting of Gray Fox is also requested.

November 11, 2023–March 15, 2024

  • Half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset (except for an 8 a.m. start on November 11)

Weapon Options

  • Bow (as detailed above)
  • Shotgun
    • 10–20 gauge using shot sizes up to #4 fine shot

Hunter Orange: Hunter Orange attire is required when shotgun hunting.

Methods of Hunting: You can hunt coyote and fox using various methods, including on the ground, elevated, or in man-made structures. These methods can involve running with hounds, stalking, or using stand and call techniques.

Predator Call: You can use both manual and electronic predator calls, and their use is optional.

Dogs: Dogs are allowed for hunting from November 11, 2023, to March 15, 2024, with the exception of December 4–9 and 13, 2023.

Decoys: The use of decoys is allowed, but live decoys are not permitted.

Bait: When in a tree stand or ground blind, maintain a minimum distance of 300 feet from bait. Baiting is not allowed on National Wildlife Refuges.

Please note: A SOLID Hunter Orange hat (without camouflage or logos) is required as part of the 200 square inch hunter orange requirement when hunting small game with a firearm on any pheasant/quail stocked Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Refer to the Pheasant and Quail Stocking Schedules in Upland Game Birds for more information.

Coyote and Fox Seasons 2023–24: Hunting Regulations

Sunday Hunting Prohibited

Sunday hunting is prohibited. Please consult the General Hunting Regulations for further details.


Regular Season (Hunting License Required; No Permit Needed)

Season

  • September 30–November 10, 2023
  • Hours: Half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset

Weapon

  • Bow Only
    • Requirements: 35 lbs. pull/peak weight or crossbow (75 lbs. pull weight) using well-sharpened broadheads (minimum 3/4" width)

Bag Limit/Reporting

  • No daily or seasonal bag limit
  • Harvest Reporting: REQUIRED for Coyote by 8 p.m. on the day of harvest. Reporting of Gray Fox is also requested.

November 11, 2023–March 15, 2024

  • Hours: Half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset (except for an 8 a.m. start on November 11)

Weapon Options

  • Bow (as detailed above)
  • Shotgun
    • Requirements: 10–20 gauge using shot sizes up to #4 fine shot
    • Hunter Orange: Required when shotgun hunting

Methods of Hunting

  • Method: On the ground, elevated, or in man-made structure
  • Manner: Running with hounds, stalking, or stand and call.
  • Predator call: Manual or electronic; use optional
  • Dogs: Allowed from Nov. 11, 2023–Mar. 15, 2024 (except Dec. 4–9 & 13, 2023)
  • Decoys: Allowed (No live decoys)
  • Bait: Min. 300' when in tree stand/ground blind. Baiting not allowed on National Wildlife Refuges
  • Note: A SOLID Hunter Orange hat (no camouflage/logos) is required as part of the 200 sq. inch hunter orange requirement when hunting small game with a firearm on any pheasant/quail stocked WMA (see Pheasant and Quail Stocking Schedules in Upland Game Birds).

Special Permit Season - Daytime and Limited Shotgun-Only Night Hours (Hunting License and $2 Permit Required)

Season

  • January 1–March 15, 2024 (Day)
  • Hours: Half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset

Weapon Options

  • Bow (as detailed above)
  • Shotgun
    • Requirements: 10–20 gauge using BB to #3 buckshot ONLY
  • Rifle
    • Requirements: Rifle Permit Required
    • Options: ML rifle or single-barrel smoothbore, .44 cal. minimum, Centerfire rifle (.17–.25 cal.) using hollow or soft point bullets (max. 80 grain), Rimfire (.17–.22 cal.) using hollow or soft point bullets (max. 50 grain)

Bag Limit/Reporting

  • No daily or seasonal limit
  • Harvest Reporting: REQUIRED for Coyote by 8 p.m. on the day of harvest. Reporting of Gray Fox is also requested.

January 1–March 15, 2024 (Night)

  • Hunting with aid of light allowed.
  • Hours: Half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise

Weapon

  • Shotgun Only
    • Requirements: 10–12 gauge using shot size #4 fine to 'T' ONLY

Hunter Orange

  • Daytime: Optional under Special Permit Provisions

Methods of Hunting

  • Method: On the ground, elevated, or in man-made structure
  • Manner: Standing and calling only
  • Predator call: Must possess manual or electronic call
  • Dogs: Prohibited
  • Decoys: Allowed (No live decoys)
  • Bait: Use Prohibited while hunting with a Special Permit.

Firearms, Bows, and Ammo for Small Game Hunting

Regulations on Weapons

  • Hunters may NOT possess both a firearm and bow & arrow while hunting any game bird or animal. See General Hunting Regulations.

Air Gun

  • Caliber: .177 to .22 caliber
  • Specifications: Non-ignited compressed gas expulsion with a minimum muzzle velocity of 600 fps. Use wadcutter, domed, pointed, or hollow point pellets ONLY. Spherical BBs NOT permitted.
  • Species Allowed: Rabbit, squirrel, hare, jackrabbit, opossum, raccoon, dispatching trapped furbearers other than muskrat.
  • License, Permit, Stamp Required: Valid Firearm Hunting License or meet Farmer License Exemption. Valid Trapping License when required.

Modern Rifle - Centerfire

  • Caliber: .25 caliber or smaller

  • Specifications: Using max. 80 grain hollow or soft point bullets.

  • Species Allowed: Coyote, Fox (Special Permit Season, daylight hours only).

  • License, Permit, Stamp Required: Valid Firearm Hunting License (excluding Apprentice Licenses) or meet Farmer License Exemption. Valid Rifle Permit. Special Coyote/Fox Permit required to hunt coyote and fox with this weapon.

  • Caliber: .25 caliber or smaller

  • Specifications: Using hollow point, soft point bullets, or expanding lead core bullets (any grain weight).

  • Species Allowed: Woodchuck.

  • Regulations: Rifle use for woodchuck prohibited on all state WMAs, state parks, forests, and recreation areas.

Modern Rifle - Rimfire

  • Caliber: .22 caliber or smaller

  • Specifications: Using max. 50 grain hollow or soft point bullets.

  • Species Allowed: Coyote, Fox (Special Permit Season, daylight hours only).

  • License, Permit, Stamp Required: Valid Firearm Hunting License (excluding Apprentice Licenses) or meet Farmer License Exemption. Valid Trapping License when required.

  • Caliber: Any caliber

  • Specifications: Using max. 50 grain hollow or soft point bullets.

  • Species Allowed: Woodchuck.

  • Regulations: Rifle use for woodchuck prohibited on all state WMAs, state parks, forests, and recreation areas.

Muzzleloading Rifle

  • Caliber: .36 caliber or smaller

  • Specifications: Single-barrel, single-shot rifle firing a single projectile.

  • Species Allowed: Gray Squirrel (See Squirrel Muzzleloading Rifle Season Areas map below).

  • License, Permit, Stamp Required: Valid Firearm Hunting License (excluding Apprentice Licenses) or meet Farmer License Exemption. Valid Rifle Permit. Special Coyote/Fox Permit required to hunt coyote and fox with this weapon.

  • Caliber: .44 caliber or larger

  • Specifications: Single-barrel, single-shot rifle or smoothbore firing a single (round ball or conical) projectile.

  • Species Allowed: Coyote, Fox (Special Permit Season, daylight hours only).

  • Caliber: Any caliber single-barrel, single-shot rifle firing a single (round ball or conical) projectile.

  • Species Allowed: Woodchuck.

  • Regulations: Rifle use for woodchuck prohibited on all state WMAs, state parks, forests, and recreation areas.

Shotgun (Including Smoothbore Muzzleloaders)

  • Caliber: Not larger than 10 gauge

  • Specifications: Using shot size not larger than #4 fine.

  • Species Allowed: All small game.

  • License, Permit, Stamp Required: Valid Firearm Hunting License or meet Farmer License Exemption. Pheasant & Quail Stamp on select WMAs, see Upland Game Birds. HIP Certificate (required for woodcock).

  • Caliber: 10–20 gauge

  • Specifications: Using shot size not smaller than "BB" or larger than #3 Buck. Pellets must be lead or a tungsten-nickel-iron hybrid.

  • Species Allowed: Coyote, Fox (Special Permit Season, daylight hours only).

  • License, Permit, Stamp Required: Valid Firearm Hunting License (excluding Apprentice Licenses) or meet Farmer License Exemption. Valid Rifle Permit to hunt with any type of muzzleloader. Special Coyote/Fox Permit required to hunt coyote and fox with shot size larger than #4 fine and when shotgun nighttime hunting for coyote or fox.

  • Caliber: 10 or 12 gauge

  • Specifications: Using shot size not smaller than #4 fine or larger than "T".

  • Species Allowed: Coyote/Fox (Special Permit Season, nighttime hours only).

Firearms Specifically Prohibited

  • Any firearm capable of firing more than 3 rounds without reloading when hunting any species listed above (shotgun capable of holding more than three shells must be plugged; modern rifles may not be loaded with more than 3 rounds).
  • Any firearm having an electronic ignition system.
  • Any firearm equipped with a silencer or noise suppressor.
  • "Smart rifles and guns" equipped with any target tracking system; electronically-controlled, electronically-assisted, or computer-linked trigger; or ballistics computer.

Bow & Arrow

  • Minimum 35 lbs. draw weight (longbow, recurve) or 35 lbs. peak weight (compound) or 75 lbs. draw weight (crossbow).
  • Using arrow/bolt with:
    • Standard fletching
    • Well-sharpened metal edge head (min. width 3/4")
  • Species Allowed: Coyote, fox, hare, rabbit, squirrel, woodchuck, and non-flying game birds.
  • License, Permit, Stamp Required: Valid Archery Hunting License or meet Farmer License Exemption. Pheasant & Quail Stamp on Stocked WMAs when hunting for these species.
  • Using arrow/bolt with:
    • Flu-flu fletching
    • Blunt, field or judo point
  • Species Allowed: Game birds in flight.

Small Game Mammal Seasons 2023–24

Regulations and Seasons

  • No Sunday hunting except for opossum and raccoon; see below. See General Hunting Regulations.

  • A SOLID hunter orange hat (no camouflage/logos) is required as part of the 200 sq. inch hunter orange requirement when hunting small game with a firearm on any pheasant/quail stocked WMA (see Pheasant and Quail Stocking Schedules in Upland Game Birds).

GRAY SQUIRREL — MUZZLELOADING

  • Season:
    • Sept. 30–Nov. 10, 2023;
    • Jan. 6–Feb. 24, 2024
  • Hours: Sunrise–½ hr. after sunset
  • Weapon Type: Muzzleloading Rifle, Not larger than .36 caliber (Designated zones only — see Squirrel Muzzleloading Rifle Season Areas map below.)
  • Bag Limits:
    • Daily bag limit of 5
    • No season limit.
  • Regulations:
    • Hunter Orange: Required.
    • Rifle Permit: Required.
    • Dogs: Allowed.
    • Sunday Hunting: Prohibited.
    • Restricted: To designated areas only (see Squirrel Muzzleloading Rifle Season Areas map below).

GRAY SQUIRREL, HARE, JACKRABBIT, RABBIT

  • Season:
    • Sept. 30, 2023–Feb. 24, 2024
    • 8 a.m. start on Nov. 11, 2023
    • Closed Dec. 4–9 & 13, 2023
  • Hours: Sunrise–½ hr after sunset
  • Weapon Type:
    • Air Gun,
    • Bow, or
    • Shotgun
  • Bag Limits:
    • 5 squirrel,
    • 1 hare or jackrabbit, and
    • 4 cottontail.
    • No season limit.
  • Regulations:
    • Hunter Orange: Required when hunting with a firearm.
    • Dogs: Allowed.
    • Sunday Hunting: Prohibited.

OPOSSUM AND RACCOON (NIGHT HUNTING)

  • Season:
    • Oct. 2, 2023–Mar. 1, 2024
    • Closed Dec. 4–9 & 13, 2023
  • Hours:
    • 1 hr. after sunset–1 hr. before sunrise
  • Weapon Type:
    • Air Gun,
    • .22 cal. rifle, or
    • Shotgun
  • Bag Limits:
    • No daily or seasonal bag limits
  • Regulations:
    • Hunter Orange: Encouraged, but not required.
    • Dogs: Allowed.
    • Sunday Hunting: 12:01 a.m. to 1 hr. before sunrise only.
    • Portable Lights: Allowed.

WOODCHUCK

  • Season:
    • Mar. 1, 2023–Feb. 24, 2024
    • 8 a.m. start Nov. 11, 2023
    • Closed Dec. 4–9 & 13, 2023
  • Season:
    • Mar. 1, 2024–Feb. 22, 2025
    • 8 a.m. start Nov. 9, 2024
    • Closed Dec. 2–7 & 11, 2024
  • Hours: Sunrise–½ hr. after sunset
  • Weapon Type:
    • Bow or
    • Shotgun
    • (Valid Rifle Permit required for rifle use)
  • Bag Limits:
    • No daily or seasonal bag limits.
  • Regulations:
    • Hunter Orange: Encouraged, but not required.
    • Dogs: Allowed.
    • Sunday Hunting: Prohibited
    • Rifle use for woodchuck prohibited on all State WMAs, Parks, and Forests & Recreation Areas.

Squirrel Muzzleloading Rifle Season Areas

For a complete description of the squirrel hunting areas, go to NJFishandWildlife.com/hunt.

New Jersey Small Game Hunting Laws and Regulations

Small Game Hunting and Public Lands

Public Hunting Lands

  • There are a variety of public lands available for hunting, including municipal, county, state, and federal lands.
  • Hunters must contact the relevant landowner to determine which areas are open for hunting before arriving on-site.

Access to Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)

  • Most wildlife management areas, as well as select state parks, forests, and recreation areas, allow licensed hunters to access them without requiring written permission.
  • Some specific areas within these properties may be closed to hunting.
  • You can find a list of state WMAs with regulations and PDF maps at dep.nj.gov/njfw/conservation/wildlife-management-areas/.
  • For state park and forest lands open for hunting, along with hunting maps, visit nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/sps_hunting_maps.html.
  • Special permits may be necessary for hunting certain species on particular properties.

National Wildlife Refuge System

  • Managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there are five national wildlife refuges in New Jersey.
  • Hunting opportunities within these refuges may be limited to specific wildlife species and can vary by refuge.
  • To learn more about these refuges and their specific regulations and requirements, visit fws.gov/refuges/profiles/ByState.cfm?state=NJ and click on the refuge you're interested in.

Commercial Shooting Preserves

  • Commercial shooting preserves offer an alternative for hunters interested in pursuing game birds.
  • Depending on their specific license, hunters can pursue species such as mallards, partridge (chukar and/or Hungarian), pheasant, and quail on a fee basis.

Small Game Sunday Hunting

  • Sunday hunting for small game is generally prohibited, except in specific cases:
    • On properly licensed semi-wild and commercial shooting preserves, for species covered by their license.
    • When hunting opossum or raccoon on Sunday mornings only between midnight and 1 hour before sunrise.

Wanton Waste

  • Hunters are required to make reasonable efforts to retrieve and take into possession any gray squirrel, hare, rabbit, chukar or Hungarian partridge, pheasant, quail, or woodcock that they kill or wound.
  • Failure to do so is considered unlawful, and more details can be found in the Wanton Waste of Game section in General Hunting Regulations.

Edible Portions Guide

Edible Portions Definition

  • Edible portions refer to the parts of game animals that are suitable for consumption.
  • They do not include:
    • Meat from the head or neck.
    • Meat that has been damaged during the hunting process.
    • Bones, sinew, or meat reasonably lost during butchering, boning, or trimming.
    • Viscera (internal organs).
  • Meat from diseased or scavenged carcasses is also excluded from edible portions.
  • Additional details can be found in the Wanton Waste of Game section in General Hunting Regulations.

Edible Portions of Rabbit

  • For rabbit and squirrel, the following parts are considered edible:
    • Front shoulders
    • Thighs
    • Backstrap

Edible Portions of Turkey

  • For game birds such as turkey, the edible portions include:
    • Breast
    • Legs and thighs

Edible Portions of Game Birds

  • For game birds other than turkey, the edible portion is primarily the breast meat.

Upland Game and Predator Hunting Regulations

Bobcat (Closed)

  • The hunting season for bobcat is closed statewide.
  • If you encounter a live bobcat or capture an image of one on your trail camera, please complete the NJ Wildlife Tracker survey at dep.nj.gov/njfw/wildlife-tracker-app/.
  • If you find a dead bobcat on the road, please call (877) 927-6337 to report the carcass location.

Bobwhite Quail (Closed)

  • The hunting season for wild bobwhite quail is closed statewide.
  • Pen-raised quail may only be hunted at Greenwood Forest and Peaslee WMA and on properly licensed commercial and semi-wild shooting preserves.
  • No person may release bobwhite quail on certain WMAs, including Buckshutem, Dix, Egg Island, Fortescue, Millville (Bevans), Nantuxent, New Sweden, or Stafford Forge WMA.

Ruffed Grouse (Closed)

  • The hunting season for ruffed grouse is closed statewide.
  • If you encounter a grouse or capture an image of one on your trail camera, please complete and submit a brief sighting report, as mentioned in the bobwhite quail section.
  • You may also file a report with the app eBird.

Coyote and Fox Hunting

  • Refer to the Coyote, Fox Seasons table for dates, hunting methods, and permitted weapons.
  • The general hunting season runs from the opening of the fall bow deer season until March 15.
  • The Special Permit Season overlaps with the general season from January 1 through March 15.
  • All harvested coyotes must be reported, and NJ Fish & Wildlife appreciates reports of gray fox via the Automated Harvest Report System.
  • Red fox cannot be reported through the AHRS at this time.
  • To report a harvest, you can call (855) 448-6865 or use the NJ Fish & Wildlife website by 8 p.m. on the day of the harvest.
  • If you're unable to access the AHRS by the designated time, report the coyote harvest immediately by telephone to the nearest NJ Fish & Wildlife Law Enforcement office.

Special Permit Coyote and Fox Season

  • A separate $2 permit is required, which can be purchased at license agents or online starting December 1.
  • A valid hunting license is necessary to purchase this special permit.
  • The special permit season is for stand hunting and calling in predators.
  • You do not need a special permit if you are only bowhunting or chasing these animals with hounds.
  • The special permit allows the use of larger shot sizes in shotguns, hunting at night, and the use of certain small caliber modern rifles or muzzleloading rifles during daylight.
  • It also allows hunting without wearing hunter orange and requires the use of a manual or electronic predator call.
  • Baiting and using dogs are prohibited under this permit.

Coyote and Fox, Incidental Harvest by Turkey or Deer Hunters

  • Turkey hunters may harvest coyote during any turkey season, but they must not have any coyote calls, decoys, or take actions to attract coyotes.
  • Deer hunters can harvest coyote or fox during firearm deer seasons, except when hunting within 300 feet of a baited area or after reaching the season bag limit for deer.
  • All coyote harvests must be reported by 8 p.m. on the day of the harvest via the Automated Harvest Report System (AHRS).
  • Details about the harvest location are required and may change, so please check the website for the most up-to-date information.

Note: While not required, reporting any harvest of GRAY fox on the day of harvest is appreciated via the AHRS. Red fox cannot be reported at this time.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.